Shari Goldhagen at Penthouse looks at the idea of meeting members of the opposite (or same, we suppose) sex at conventions . The article is very tongue in cheek while reinforcing some of the very worst ideas about nerd culture.

Sci-fi conventions such as San Diego’s Comic-Con are under-the-radar hook-up havens. No, really.

So I was more than a little surprised when my friendly neighborhood comic-book-store clerk told me she was looking forward to this year’s New York Comic Con because “conventions are all about the sex.”

Yeah, right, I thought. In other news, the world is flat and simultaneous orgasms occur readily outside of Smallville fan fics.

But, she discovers, it’s the PARTY scene that really gets things cookin’:

The big cons—SDCC, NYCC, and Alternative Press Expo—all have VIP parties with open bars, which can lubricate the social interaction for sure. You’re not going to go home with Jessica Alba in her fuck-tastic Fantastic Four garb, but as Vic Holtreman of ScreenRant.com notes, “There’s a lot of hitting on people and flirting; there’s a feeling of community.” And any celebs in tow are well aware that a review from a popular fan site can make or break a sci-fi movie, so they’re at their most approachable.

How to, indeed! Anyway, as you read, you’ll meet Jennifer, who is dressed as Wonder Woman but thinks guys aren’t checking out her double-eagles. And Eva, “who was a very naughty elf at I-CON last year.” And also Valerie D’Orazio and David Gallaher make a cameo.


  1. *snrk* “Double Eagles” *titter*

    Dating 101: Find someone with similar (but not identical) interests.

    Furthermore, I have discovered that women who attend comicbook and science fiction conventions are usually more intelligent, have greater imaginations, read more, and are more open to the interesting and unusual. (Sometimes they can be too interesting, like the Gothic Lolita (of legal age) who was excited about the bone knife she bought at NYAF.) If the con is held at a university or college, even better.

    Curiously, I have heard (via “The Devil’s Panties” and elsewhere) that Dragon*Con is the most licentious of conventions.

  2. hiedi, you’ve been to more than enough cons and after parties to know more about this than most (not suggesting you’ve ever stepped out at a convention)

    yes, people hook up at conventions.
    i’ve had some actual relationships spin out of one night stands at cons.
    i know many many people who have.
    it’s more than just the creators hooking up with groupies.
    is this really shocking news?

    you take any confident human being who isn’t physically appalling and drop them into a comic book convention, you’ve got james dean.

    as horrible as it sounds, sometimes thinking they might get some is the deciding factor on whether or not they might make the trip.

    what i’m nervous about is all the middle aged, pot bellied, virgins and horny, teenage, boys with bad skin realizing that people do have sex at cons; and for the first time after reading this, decide to turn the creepy factor up, scaring away everyone else.

  3. Hey JLG, I met Future Mr. Beat at a comics convention, so obviously I know where of this story speaks! (There’s even video of our first meeting, and if I do say so myself, it’s kind of cute.)

    I think the whole Penthouse angle is a little odd though. We’re all aware of some shows that have hooking up as a well-known, if little blogged about, supplemental activity. But even at a con where people go just for the articles, the exposure to people who share your interests (always a big big turn on) is very high. Thus, the odds of finding someone to go out with or even a lifemate is significantly higher.

    The really good thing is that now Feminerds are showing up in greater and greater numbers. And more and more cute nerd couples are coming about! Look at Erin and Noah, whose zero G wedding I just linked to. Two great people who make a great couple.

  4. and it makes for great gossip on the message boards

    i’m not suggesting that any decently sized portion of people show up to conventions looking for someone to spend the night with, but i am worried that this article (and you know it’s got to have been pasted across the geekcentric internets by now) will bump that percentage into the creepy territory.

    it’s always been a poorly kept secret, but this makes it seem downright empowering.
    now we might have five thousand middle aged guys who still live with mom thinking they might just have a shot with the ten fangirls who decided it might be fun to show up in costume.

  5. JLG — once again, I think this is a topic for an article or book all its own, but if there is a place where, um, gamma males and females can find soulmates or just mates, that’s fine.

    Interestingly, if there is a place where people would be vulnerable to unwanted advances it’s Anime/manga conventions which are full of young kids dressed in revealing costumes. The first time I went to one of these I was afraid it would be a pedophiles paradise but the kids were surprisingly savvy — they really only wanted to hang out with other kids who liked what they liked, and were skeeved out by skeevy older people.

    I understand your fears, but I think most girls who dress as Slave Leia know what kind of attention they are going for. (It seems that hooking up with Slave Leias is a con right of passage for some folks.) As for unwanted attention driving away or bothering girls and women who are just there for the fandom of it all…I dunno…what do the rest of you think?

  6. 1) It’s as if the doofs at Penthouse have never seen the episode of Entourage that was set at Comic-Con.

    2) It’s as if the doofs at Penthouse forgot that Penthouse used to publish Penthouse Comix.

    — Rob

    PS to jacob: “now we might have five thousand middle aged guys who still live with mom thinking they might just have a shot with the ten fangirls who decided it might be fun to show up in costume.”

    Nah. It’s always been about the five thousand middle-aged guys who still live with their mom (or Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory) who think they might have a shot with Summer Glau or Jewel Staite.

  7. Oh, I remember the Poison Ivy / Catwoman duo. They hung out and chatted for a bit. It was their first con, as I recall, at least in cosplay. They did, indeed, have fellows eyeballing them lustily.

  8. As “mainstream” articles go, I found this one to be more well-researched and less condescending to geekery (and the ladies of geekery) than most. And I believe you could probably write a nearly identical piece about any other trade show/convention.

  9. It bothers me that I remember the long-running refrain of “There is no sex at the *-Con” when it was a truism instead of a mark of Old Man of Fandom.

    Cons have always been a hotbed of hookups, under the radar and otherwise. It’s only in the increasing number of nerdgirls that the whole “Hrrr hrrr, goin’ to Comic-Con to pick up chix” has become more mainstream. Peoples is peoples and sticking a bunch of people with similar interests (if not necessarily the same levels of social intelligence or grace, see the Open Source Boob Project) in a hothouse environment is gonna produce a lot of sexual tension and frission.

    Plus, everyone knows that folks lookin’ to hook up go to anime cons.
    (Last time I went to A-Kon it was like some sort of wierd-ass Hedonism II for the under-18 set.)

  10. I don’t mean to be snide at all, but I think Valerie’s boyfriend’s last name is spelled GALLAHER, not GALLAHGER. I don’t think there is a second ‘g’ …

  11. Curiously, I have heard (via “The Devil’s Panties” and elsewhere) that Dragon*Con is the most licentious of conventions.

    Probably true. But also probably not as much since Frolicon spun off to do its own thing, if you know what I mean, and I think you do.

  12. Heidi, just my two cents:

    I don’t think this Penthouse article is likely to up the creep factor…which is already sadly present. Women have been dealing with unwanted attention for awhile at Cons, and reports of groping and other incidents aren’t particularly rare. When you’re dealing with lots of people, regardless of the type of convention, the creep factor just goes up…with or without Penthouse.

    I’d say the piece falls neatly in the “no shit” category, the fact that people hook up at conventions. I find it kind of funny that it’s like, surprise, nerds want to have sex and when they find other people who dig their nerdom they often do. Shouldn’t be shocking to anyone.

    What I’d rather the discussion of the article, did, though, was help people navigate the Cons better and maybe feel safer. I know a lot of women who feel intimidated, not by the nerd culture which they are happily a part of, but the potential skeeve factor. Which again, has been around the whole time. I don’t see that changing just because Penthouse up and got a clue about them thar newfangled nerdy things.

  13. Man, I really need to stay abreast of Frolicon!

    In 2009 we had cutting, branding, boot worship, electricity, dollification, furry identification, and so much more from national, regional and local presenters such as Sharrin Specter, Catherine Gross, Vi Johnson, Boymeat, Jeff the Rope God (yes, we named him that, not him), Frankie, Sable, Lord Mercury, Winterrose, Master Archer and Elegant, Boomer and more!

  14. “You don’t know a real Con until you’ve been to Angouleme.
    ‘Nuff said :D”

    I heard that at Angoulême the cosplayers dress up their *buildings* instead of their bodies. Like you won’t see any fangirls wearing Nävis’s tattoos or Noa’s wind-up key, but if you leave the convention halls and walk down the street you might run into a several-stories-tall painting of Le Scorpion or comic-scene trompe l’œil on the side of someone’s house or shop.